Heat Exhaustion and Heat Stroke Health (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Heat exhaustion

  • Pale with cool, moist skin
  • Profuse sweating
  • Muscle cramps or pains
  • Faint or dizzy feeling
  • Headache, weakness, thirst, and nausea
  • Core (rectal) temperature elevated-usually more than 100 F (37.7 C) and increased pulse rate

Heat stroke symptoms

  • Unconsciousness or markedly abnormal mental status (dizziness, confusion, hallucinations, or coma)
  • Flushed, hot, and dry skin (although it may be moist initially from previous sweating or from attempts to cool the person with water)
  • Blood pressure may be high or low
  • Hyperventilation
  • Rectal (core) temperature of 105 F (40.5 C) or more

When should I seek medical care for heat exhaustion and heat stroke?

Call a doctor or take the person to an emergency department if heat exhaustion or heat stroke is suspected.

  • Suspected heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency. Call an ambulance immediately using 911.
  • Go to a hospital immediately if the person is unable to keep fluids down or if their mental status begins to deteriorate. Symptoms of shortness of breath, chest pain, or abdominal pain may indicate the heat exhaustion is accompanied by more serious medical problems.

For heat exhaustion, a person should go to the hospital if any of the following are present:

  • Loss of consciousness, confusion, or delirium
  • Chest or abdominal pain
  • Inability to drink fluids
  • Continuous vomiting
  • Temperature more than 104 F (40 C)
  • Temperature that is rising despite attempts to cool the person
  • Any person with other serious ongoing medical problems
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 7/16/2014

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Heat Exhaustion And Heat Stroke - Diagnosis Question: How did the doctor distinguish between heat exhaustion and heat stroke?
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